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Students Test Bioretention Media at 16th Annual Meeting of the American Ecological Engineering Society

005On June 7-9, UT hosted the 16th Annual Meeting of the American Ecological Engineering Society (AEES). This year’s conference was entitled “Rooftop to Rivers: Integrating Built and Natural Ecosystems.” Attendees included 170 students from 27 states, along with UT students from the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Biosystems Engineering, who came to learn about topics relating to watershed planning, stream restoration, sustainable food systems, and more. The conference hosted a suite of technical field trips, a student design competition and an assortment of networking activities to complement the technical sessions.

One such activity was a competition to design an optimal bioretention media for use in green infrastructure practices targeting nutrient removal and fine sediment from a synthetic urban stormwater. Teams were given a 4-ft. pipe column and their choice of various bioretention materials, such as gravel, sand and shredded hardwood mulch. T009he competition was judged on a combination of creativity, articulation of technical elements of their design, product cost, infiltration rate, and nutrient sediment removal.

The overall aim of AEES is to create a synergy between reflecting on society’s past and looking ahead to the challenges that lie ahead, while engaging members to continue to evolve with the emerging field of Ecological Engineering. The conference is co-chaired by Timothy Gangaware, Assistant Director of the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center, Andrea Ludwig, Assistant Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science and John Schwartz, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.